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Obit: Buzz Potter--hobo poet (1937-2003)

Art Thieme 12 Mar 03 - 02:24 AM
Art Thieme 12 Mar 03 - 02:29 AM
Francy 12 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM
Mark Ross 12 Mar 03 - 12:11 PM
Art Thieme 12 Mar 03 - 03:04 PM
Fortunato 12 Mar 03 - 03:26 PM
Art Thieme 12 Mar 03 - 03:44 PM
Art Thieme 15 Mar 03 - 12:57 AM
open mike 15 Mar 03 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,Santa Fe Bo 13 Apr 10 - 07:01 PM
open mike 13 Apr 10 - 08:42 PM
katlaughing 13 Apr 10 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,David "the giant killer" 20 Jun 12 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,abdul rahim 22 Jun 12 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,John Knoernschild 24 Mar 16 - 03:23 PM
Mark Ross 25 Mar 16 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,Lord Open Road's Niece 31 Jul 17 - 05:45 PM
Joe Offer 01 Aug 17 - 01:13 AM
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Subject: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 02:24 AM

I don't have the details of this, but I just know it's a huge loss. BUZZ POTTER was the editor and guiding force behind the grand old magazine known as THE HOBO TIMES until that illustrious rag fell off the rods and brakebeams a few years ago. He owned a great little bar in Brainerd, Minnesota where he hosted some wonderful gatherings of hobos from all over the USA-----guys and gals who, for various and sundry reasons, not the least of which was pure romance and wanderlust, chose to ride the open boxcars of this nation back and forth from coast to coast and from Canada to Mexico. And Buzz Potter, along with Luther The Jet (Gette), Banjo Fred Starner, Larry Penn, Spider John Koerner, Mark Ross, U. Utah Phillips, Haywire "Brack", and other assorted and sordid singers and recitationists, loved the lore of these freedom loving ones we call HOBOS. I'm gonna dig out some of Buzz Potter's poems and post 'em here over the next few days (weeks), but I did want to tell you about the passing of this good man.

BUZZ POTTER has a wonderful CD out on Utah Phillips' NO GUFF RECORDS label----but tha info is off the top o' my dead and I could be wrong about the label. I'm just too tired tonight to did out the info. But Buzz Potter has a deep and melifluous voice that makes hsid vivid narrative iambics take instant shape in that most sensitive of all photographic emulsions, the human mind !! I'm glad Buzz hired me to go up to Brainerd, MN to sing for the 'bos and eat copious quantities of his Mulligan strew. And he paid really well for those services too !! I always appreciated that.

Art Thieme
(a.k.a. The Prince Of Peru as officially given that moniker by the then hobo king, Luther The Jet---the only hobo king who has a P.H.D. in French Literature.)


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 02:29 AM

sorry for the typos folks. i must be tireder than I thought

Art


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Francy
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM

Hi Art: After our call last night I looked it up and Buzz's CD is on the Rasberry Hill label entitled "Poems Of The Open Road"....thanks for the info last night Art....Frank of Toledo


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Mark Ross
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:11 PM

Art,
   It was a great loss. Buzz was fine gentleman, a wonderful poet, and one of the world's great curmudgeons. He hoboed as a young man and never lost his love for the rails. Took over the Hobo Times and bankrolled it out of his own pocket for as long as he could. He damn near went bankrupt putting on the 2000 Hobo Festival in Elko, Nevada. His death wasn't unexpected, he refused to follow doctors' orders; no smoking, no drinking. Last time we talked he said his heart was down to %20 capacity. From now on the last verse to Wabash Cannonball will be;

Here's to old Buzz Potter may his name forever stand,
He's a hobo that's respected on the rails throughout the land.
When his race is over, and the curtain 'round him falls,
May his spirit ever linger on the Wabash Caanonball.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 03:04 PM

Marl and Frank,

Thanks for the corrections. I do appreciate 'em. It really is a fine CD of Buzz reciting his poetry. His "Bum On The Kootenay" or something like that reminds me of Woody's "East Texas Red". But it's Buzz's own story or so he told me with a tear in his eye after many drinks one night in Brainerd. Hobos had to do tough stuff just to survive on occasion. And that is truer now in 2003 than it has ever been before. There are insane morons riding the rails these days lurking for kids and worse than the church scandals. Murder, outright, is so commonplace that I'd never contemplate jumping a freight these days.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Fortunato
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 03:26 PM

Well, you know, Art. It's funny you should mention hobos and freight hopping. I was just talking about that with my dad on Monday. He's 91. During the depression he road the freights back and forth from Alabama to Maryland, following the crops and jobs and such. He was telling me about the time he and my Uncle Allie road the blinds on coal cars from Birmingham to Richmond. He said that the long tunnels were the worst part; a man could hardly breath for the coal dust. He joined the army when the war broke out and never went back to that life. His stories have given me a strong impression of that life and given me a soft spot for the songs and stories of Bruce Phillips, et al. thanks for the news of The Prince Of Peru. When I sing "All Around the Water Tank" I think of my dad. cheers chance


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 03:44 PM

F.

The Prince of Peru was the name King Luther The Jet gave ME. It wasn't Buzz's moniker. Carol and I live in the town of "Peru". ;-) Just to set the record straight.

Art


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 12:57 AM

Here is part of the obit/article from Buzz Potter's home town newspaper. Thanks to Ron Miles for forwarding it on to me.

EDWIN C. POTTER

NISSWA MINNESOTA---Edwin "Buzz" C. Potter. 65, died Sunday, March 9th, 2003, at home

He was born Dec. 9, 1937. He was a business entrepreneur from gold-mining to dredging and most recently as a mortgage banker. He was a journalist, poet and storyteller. His original poems are included in print and on a spoken word CD entitled "POEMS OF THE HOBO ROAD". His poetry has been featured by Garrison Keillor on "The Writer's Almanac". He was the subject of television news stories and numerous magazine and news articles. He helped establish and served as the editor of "The Hobo Times" magazine in 1993 and was president of the National Hobo Association (NSA)...

An Irish wake will be held at a later date.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: open mike
Date: 15 Mar 03 - 01:58 AM

I think they have a hobo convention in Iowa every year--
Britt, IA
the advent of the steam engine, and then the rr changed forever the
face of the nation.
Isn't there a lot of different "classifications" of hobos?
Bindle Stiffs, to Bums, some who work, some who won't, all travellers.
I seem to remeber Utah "teaching" a class on this terminology??
hobo signs

And here's to you my ramblin' boy, may all your rambles bring you joy,
...if when you die you go somewhere, I bet you a nickle (dollar?)
he's ramblin' there...
(or as I often sing:)
...And here's to you my ramblin' friend,
may all your rambles never end...
see here for hobo nickel

and un-related other than the place :
and another thing i saw that will be happening in NISSWA, MN
scandinavian festival


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: GUEST,Santa Fe Bo
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 07:01 PM

Buzz was my partner (I founded the National Hobo Association back in 1987). He was a brilliant poet and storyteller/writer. Dearly missed by all who knew him seven long years later. Love you, pal.

Santa Fe Bo
############


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: open mike
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 08:42 PM

Are there any of his writings available for us all to see (on the web?)


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Subject: RE: Obit: BUZZ POTTER--hobo poet
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 09:21 PM

Thanks for stopping by, Santa Fe Bo...would love to hear more if you feel like sharing.

Fair wind,

kat


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Subject: RE: Obit: Buzz Potter--hobo poet (March 2003)
From: GUEST,David "the giant killer"
Date: 20 Jun 12 - 11:37 PM

I love Buzz Potter's poems. they remind me so very much of my grandfathers stories he used to tell. I miss him so much! when I listen to Buzz it is like still having apart of my grandfather with me. Back in the 70's i did some hoboing myself with my older brother, partially due to my grandfathers stories I would never do it again these days, but I am glad for having had the experience. Having never been able to meet Buzz and been able to tell how much i love his poems, I am disappointed to hear of his passing. may he rest in peace.

been so many years since anyone posted here probably no one will notice this post. Buzz if you see my grandfather tell Him he is missed!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Buzz Potter--hobo poet (March 2003)
From: GUEST,abdul rahim
Date: 22 Jun 12 - 11:36 PM

goodbye buzz, so many years since you've been gone. you did great things for the hobo cause. we'll miss you forever


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Subject: RE: Obit: Buzz Potter--hobo poet (March 2003)
From: GUEST,John Knoernschild
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 03:23 PM

I worked with Buzz during the dredging years from 1982 thru 1989. He was quite a guy to be with with his knowledge of history. I never heard him recite poetry but he had many talents. Miss you Buzz.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Buzz Potter--hobo poet (March 2003)
From: Mark Ross
Date: 25 Mar 16 - 11:42 AM

Buzz was cremated, and some of his ashes, a couple of grains each, were placed in our guitars in The Rose Tattoo. I have some in mine along with deceased Tattoos Silkie Miller and Al Grierson, as well as a few grains of Joe Hill's ashes (Utah Phillips had some of Joe's as well).


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Obit: Buzz Potter--hobo poet (March 2003)
From: GUEST,Lord Open Road's Niece
Date: 31 Jul 17 - 05:45 PM

I see that a poem Garrison Keillor refers to as Softly By Tracks is called Lord Open Road on Buzz Potter's CD Poems of the Hobo Road. Does anyone know about why the poem is called that on the CD? Thanks! Barbara


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Subject: ADD: Softly by Tracks (poem by Buzz Potter)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 17 - 01:13 AM

I see a page on Buzz Potter on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac-but there's nothing on the page. Searching the Almanac comes up with this: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2001/08/21

Poem: "Softly By Tracks," by Buzz Potter from Around the Jungle Fire (The Hobo Press).

Softly By Tracks
(Buzz Potter)

I stood by the main in the soft August rain
And watched as her headlight appeared
She crested the hill with a low moaning quill
Then proceeded through signals just cleared

She rolled down the main, with a rumbling refrain,
A song all the ramblers have known,
The creaks and the groans and the low whistle moans,
Remind us of yesterday's homes.

Oh, how many times have I heard those old chimes
When my church was the high iron trail
When the visions of youth responded to truth
Expressed in a steam engine’s wail

And the clunk of the gear brought a soft welling tear
As I stood there alone in the night
And I felt once again that deep yearning yen
That all us old ramblers must fight

Then she whistled a name that sounded the same
As a lover I knew long ago
I'd met her out there in the clean prairie air
In the rising sun's soft warming glow

I'd seen her at night in a campfire's light
I'd heard her soft call on the plains
I'd tasted her love in the rain from above
And slept with her often on trains

And the romance we knew I often review
And I savor the fond memory
Of the sweet cunning way that she led me astray
As soft as a south wind at sea

I remember her now but I can't recall how
I lost her and she slipped away
She sometimes comes back when I stand by the track
Then she sings and I must look away

And the rivers and streams still carry my dreams
Out where the long freighters roll
And the memories gleam as the lone whistle scream
Still calls to my wandering soul

As the years roll on by, I still wonder why
I miss her and long for her so
And her name in the end was freedom, my friend
A lover that most never know

The train passes by and there's mist in my eye
And it's not from the soft falling rain
And I know I'll be back to this place by the track
To watch freedom go by on the train




Here's a page about the CD, Poems of the Hobo Road: http://www.cloutier.org/music/pottercd.html It has one poem titled "Softly by Tracks" (with a recording of the poem posted here) and another called "Lord Open Road."

Here's a page that has the full poem. It says the label on the CD is mixed up, and that this is the poem titled "Softly by Tracks."

The album, Poems of the Hobo Road, is available on Spotify.


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